Saturday, 27 September 2008
Some people (including an orthopaedic surgeon) have suggested that acupuncture might be quite good to help reduce the swelling in my knee.
I was going to go somewhere that had been recommended to me, but I was feeling very impatient today as I couldn't find a decent knee support in Oxford, so I decided to go in to a Chinese health shop. You know the ones - slightly dodgy looking, often found in shopping centres, with questionable claims on the windows.
The only time I've seen inside them is when the likes of Watchdog have done stories about them conning people in to buying dodgy medicine after looking at their tongue.
First off, just like on Watchdog, I sat down with the "Doctor" and his translator. They then asked loads of questions about my knee, and I did my best to explain without using the words "synovial plica". They did ask how my bowels were - I reckon they ask everyone this - and I said they were fine. And of course I had to stick my tongue out and have my pulse taken.
It was then explained to me that I have three meridians flowing down my leg and that they were blocked which makes the chi monkey fall off my back. Or something like that. I was by that point just wishing they would get on with it and stick the bloomin' needles in my knee.
So they I was taken in to the treatment room and I lay down on the treatment bed with my trousers off. Once again I made a pants-related error, by not then covering myself up with the provided towel...
Then the doc comes in and brings out the needles. I think my eyes must have been as wide as dinner plates when he started sticking them in me. I think there were six in total. He stuck them in a little bit, then kinda tapped them in one movement with his whole hand. When he put the two in my knee, I was honestly crapping myself and I though he was going to go straight in to my patella ligament and I was going to then hit the roof. Actually it wasn't too bad. One of the needles in my calf felt quite uncomfortable - like he had put it in when the muscle was tense and when I tried to relax it felt weird.
So I lay there and looked at the acupuncture chart on the wall. Looking at the chart such as the eye and perineum. :S
After about 20min the needles were removed. The doc then gave me a massage with some menthol oil stuff. Although it felt like he was just randomly rubbing my knee, it did actually feel quite good... that is until he did some kind of slapping thing on my kneecap that I did not like much.
Of course, I knew that they would eventually "recommend" that I buy lots of Chinese medicine and sign up for loads more acupuncture sessions. They wanted me to sign up for 10 sessions for which I would get 3 free. Hmmm... perhaps they could not detect the Scottish accent. They also wanted me to buy the oil and two boxes of medicine stuff. I agreed to sign up for 3 more sessions - I do appreciate that if it is going to have any effect it will not happen in one go - and I bought the oil stuff. They did their best to get me to buy the medicine but I did refuse on that one. I willing to accept that Chinese medicine could have some efficacy in certain conditions, but for a gammy knee I'll stick to Glucosamine and cod liver oil for the time being.
So how does it feel now? Well it actually felt quite good afterwards. It's always a good sign when my right knee bothers me more than my left. However, it's impossible to tell if the improvement is because of the acupuncture or the random rubbing afterwards.
I now stink of menthol, but I go back on Tuesday for more...